Pinatas, pinatas, pinatas!

We lovingly hand craft custom made piñatas and other paper mache products to suit your requirements.

Detailed instructions on how to make a piñata

There are lots of ways to make a piñata. Traditionally they are made out of clay, nowadays they’re mostly made out of cardboard. I make mine out of papier mache. You can make a simple one balloon piñata in under two hours the bigger and more detailed models usually take me at least six hours! Ideally the piñata should be completed a few days before the event to allow it time to dry properly.

All you need is;
Some old papers, newspapers or magazines – even an old phone book will do. Glossy pages don't stick as easily.
PVA glue mixed 2:1 with water you can also use flour mixed 2:1 with water
String and/or masking tape
Scissors or a sharp knife
As well as whatever you will need for the final layer
Its traditional to stuff them with sweets but healthier to add a few prizes! Of course there is a lot more scope with an adult piñata...
Cardboard sheets, tubes and boxes as well as your imagination!

1) Blow up the balloons then use string and masking tape to hold them into the shape you’re aiming to make. Masking tape is better to use than stronger tapes because it doesn’t pop the balloons as easily.
If you stretch the balloons before blowing them up, blow them up to their fullest extent and then allow them to deflate a little they will last longer.

2) Tare newspaper into pieces. Then use a mixture of 1 part water to 2 parts pva glue to smear all over the paper before sticking it to the structure. You can also use paste made out of flour and water. Slap it on and make sure you get right to the edges of the paper! Cover the whole model in newspaper and leave it to dry in a warm place for about 4 hours, although overnight is ideal. You can do more than one layer at once but the model is more likely to wrinkle. Smoothing it down afterwards helps to avoid air bubbles. Using a large bowl will help to hold your piñata in place whilst you apply each layer. Larger pieces of paper are faster but smaller pieces are neater. You can water down the glue a little for more absorbent paper or add more pva to thicken it up for stiffer, heavier or less absorbent materials. Over lapping strips makes for stronger layers.
To avoid loosing track of which bits I have and haven't added a layer to I sometimes alternate between layers of newspaper and another type of scrap paper. This is especially handy with complicated designs and when dealing with interruptions!

3) Repeat step two until you have several layers that are completely dry. 3 - 4 layers is good for a children’s piñata. You need 2-3 layers covering the balloons before they pop or start to deflate otherwise the model will lose its shape.
To build lumps into the structure and shape it often helps to experiment with screwed up lumps, twisted or folded strips of newspaper covered in paste. 

4) Then it’s up to you how you decorate the final layer. Tissue paper is traditional but you can use most paper, thin plastic or fabric, paints and crayons etc, even beads or feathers to give it an unusual look.  If you are sticking on something heavier than paper you will need stronger and faster drying glue than PVA!
If you are using pale or thin paper for your final layer it often helps to use an undercoat of plain white or a suitable coloured thicker layer underneath. 

5) Once it’s all completely dry you can cut a hole for the door with a sharp knife. Cut out three sides of a square or rectangle and fold it outwards. Pull out any balloons, string or masking tape after popping any that haven’t already deflated.
The piñata will feel more sold once its dry, although it should still have a little flexibility to its structure.

6) Then choose somewhere at least a few centimetres away from the door to string the piñata. Make a hole on either side with a sharp knife to thread the string through, using the door to guide the ribbon or string through one side to the other and then tie in a knot. You can always add more string to add length later!
I use a wooden barbecue skewer with a piece of cotton threaded through the end to help me string the piñatas. You could also buy a mattress needle from a fabric shop for £2-3 to help with threading them.

7 ) Organise your filling. Once you have stuffed it you can pop the door back into place and use a few strips of your final layer to reseal it.
You can also stuff the door with bendy straws (each with a ribbon threaded through and knotted at the end) to create a ‘pull piñata’ effect. I just think its more fun to bash it to bits with a big stick!

If you have a design that you're not sure of or would like to know how we've made any of the piñatas on the blogs then why not drop us a line and we'll show you how its done!

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